Connect diet, environment and economics to improve food

Sustain member the Centre for Food Policy have written a brief on how food systems can combine diet-related health with environmental and economic policy goals.

Apple tree. Photo credit: Pexels

Apple tree. Photo credit: Pexels

The paper is entitled: 'Connecting food systems for co-benefits: how can food systems combine diet-related health with environmental and economic policy goals?' It builds on considerable earlier work by analysing the connections between different policy goals and between policy goals and food systems.

Key messages

  • Thinking about food as a ‘system’ has gained increasing attention in recent years within the European Union (EU) (and beyond), and there have been calls for a more integrated approach to decision-making in this area.
  • This approach recognizes that food affects various aspects of life in complex ways, including health, environment, and the economy. This presents opportunities, but also challenges to achieve common goals (co-benefits) more effectively.
  • Mapping EU policy goals identifies tensions between economic, environmental and health goals for food polices as well as explicit connections among them that can inform how food systems will need to be designed and managed in different ways for diet-related health, environment and economic equity goals to be to be met in synergy.
  • This vision for food systems remains highly aspirational; nevertheless, there are specific opportunities where diet-related health, economic and environmental goals could be connected for co-benefits, such as through public procurement and the common agricultural policy.
  • Making these requires cross-government and cross-sector collaboration, and could be supported through food systems policy audits, governance mechanisms to link food systems work across the EU, and roundtables to identify specific steps for change.

Better Food Britain


mailing list

Better Food Britain: We want everyone to be able to enjoy food that is good for our health, produced in a way that supports good livelihoods, reduced waste and greenhouse gas emissions, high animal welfare and restoration of nature. Find out how.

The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

0203 5596 777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2019
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Site map
Data privacy & cookies